Venezuelan Daily Brief

Published in association with The DVA Group and The Selinger Group, the Venezuelan Daily Brief provides bi-weekly summaries of key news items affecting bulk commodities and the general business environment in Venezuela.

Friday, May 16, 2014

May 16, 2014

International Trade

Incoming cargo at Puerto Cabello
  • Over 79 thousand tons of child infant formula from Nestlé Deutschland AG
  • 30,000 tons of Yellow corn from Desa Industries and Terra World Trade for Avícola La Guásima, Productos Balanceados and Agro Lucha
  • 6,000 tons of paddy rice from Guyana Rice Development for CASA
  • Over 5,998 tons of frozen beef and chicken for CASA
  • 5,077 tons of powdered milk from Argentina in 195 containers, for CASA - as well as frozen chicken.
  • Over 3,000 tons of frozen beef and chicken from JBS y Minerva for CASA
  • Over 2,952 tons of frozen beef and chicken from Brasil JBS
  • 2,854 tons of automobile parts for Corporación Automotriz ZGT.
  • 2,403 tons of frozen beef to government corporation CASA. 
  • 1,647 tons of spaghetti in 63 van, for CASA
  • 1,568 tons of lentils and green peas from Canada, for CASA.
  • 767 tons of oil for industry supplies for Pdvsa Petróleo, Pdvsa Gas y Pequiven Morón.
  • 673 tons, 45 chassis units
  • 343 tons of truck tires in 27 containers, from Brazil, for GOODYEAR Venezuela.
  • Over 367 tons of blue cheese from Ecolat Uruguay for Productora de Lácteos Flor de Aragua
  • Over 361 tons of infant formula from Panalpina Transportes Internacionales for Venezuelan subsidiary
  • 156 tons of sanitary napkins and diapers, from Chile, for Procter & Gamble.
  • 113 tons of sanitary napkins from Procter & Gamble for Venezuelan subsidiary
  • 110 tons of infant formula from Nestlé México for Venezuelan subsidiary
  • Over 89 tons of infant formula soy from Nestlé USA for Venezuelan subsidiary
Export
  • 403 tons of cured skins from Inter Logística for Italy Ferromo SPS
  • 126 tons of coaxial cable from Interamericana de Cables for CME Wire Coleman in United States

CENCOEX is paralyzed by a labor strike
Personnel at the National Foreign Trade Center (CENCOEX), which handles all FOREX import transactions, have gone on strike until their demands for higher wages are met. More in Spanish: (El Universal: http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/140516/por-protesta-laboral-paralizan-actividades-en-cencoex)


Logistics & Transport

Italy's Alitalia scraps Venezuela flights over currency dispute more may follow
Italian airline Alitalia has canceled service to Venezuela as of June 2 due to delays in repatriating revenue under the country's 11-year-old currency control system. Venezuela owes airlines some U$D 3.9 billion, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), because the airlines are required to sell tickets in the local bolivar currency but the government has not granted them approval to repatriate that revenue. IATA Regional Vice President for America Peter Cerda warns that more airlines may follow suit if authorities do not solve the debt situation. "Unfortunately there has been nothing formal on repayment with any airline", he said. (Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/15/venezuela-airlines-alitalia-idUSL1N0O02AG20140515; more in Spanish: Ultimas Noticias, http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/economia/iata-mas-aerolineas-se-iran-de-venezuela-si-no-se-.aspx#ixzz31sG5Hbec)


Oil & Energy

PDVSA to sell U$D 5 billion in 2024 bonds, company total debt is now up 11% to U$D 48.3 billion
State energy giant PDVSA, says it will raise U$D 5 billion through a private sale of 10-year bonds to the country's public banking sector. The bonds will carry a coupon of 6% and funds from the sale will go toward investment, including social development projects. It will not be registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and will only be available to "qualified institutional investors" on the secondary market. Venezuela could use bonds to pay off part of its swelling debt load with private companies ranging from airlines to pharmaceuticals to car part importers. Russ Dallen, a partner at brokerage Caracas Capital Markets, said that in addition to debt repayment, he expects Venezuela to use part of the latest bond offer to feed a currency market called SICAD II, which was launched by the government in March to try and pump more greenbacks into the economy. “The government is in default with everyone except bondholders,” says Jorge Piedrahita, the chief executive officer at brokerage Torino Capital LLC. “We think this issuance will go very fast and won’t be enough to solve the dollar shortage, although the scarcity index will likely fall.” “The latest sale follows a U$D 4.5 billion issuance of 2026 PDVSA bonds in November, of which U$D 3 billion was destined to pay off accumulated debts with oil service providers while the remainder was sold to the central bank. The new bond increases PDVSA financial debt by 11%, bringing the total to U$D 48.3 billion. (Business Week: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-05-14/venezuela-s-pdvsa-to-sell-up-to-5-billion-of-new-dollar-bonds; Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/15/venezuela-pdvsa-bonds-idUSL1N0O015C20140515; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/140514/pdvsa-issues-usd-5-billion-in-pdvsa-2024-bonds; Bloomberg, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-14/venezuela-s-pdvsa-to-sell-up-to-5-billion-of-new-dollar-bonds.html; Latin American Herald Tribune, http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2192068&CategoryId=10717; The Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304908304579561992878582798; and more in Spanish: (El Universal: http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/140515/deuda-de-pdvsa-crece-11-y-alcanza-los-483-millardos)

Venezuela reached an agreement with China to produce one million barrels per day with Chinese CNPC, according to Economic Vice President Rafael Ramírez, who is also Mining and Oil Minister, and President of PDVSA. He said the hopes to sign this agreement at the next high-level meeting. (Veneconomy, http://www.veneconomy.com/site/index.asp?ids=44&idt=39282&idc=4)


Commodities

Housing construction down 63% over the past 4 months, iron rod production down 62%
Lack of construction material - cement, iron rods, and others - is hurting the Government housing program. Reports from the Housing Ministry show that during the first four months of 2013 only 10,823 housing units were built - a 63% drop from the same period last year. Iron rod production is down 62% and cement sales at the end of February were down 11%. Electric and plumbing material is also scarce. Authorities had announced 400,000 new housing units to be constructed this year, but to date only 3% have been completed. More in Spanish: (El Universal: http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/140516/63-cayo-la-construccion-de-viviendas-en-el-cuatrimestre; http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/140514/produccion-de-cabillas-cayo-62-en-el-primer-trimestre)

“Fair (higher) prices” for coffee, rice, sugar and chicken; higher milk prices considered
The Fair Prices Superintendent’s Office has published new prices for food staples, among them: ground coffee, coffee beans, white rice, sugar and chicken. Trade Minister Dante Rivas says that if necessary, the government will study the price of milk and consider increasing it. (Veneconomy,  http://www.veneconomy.com/site/index.asp?ids=44&idt=39280&idc=3; http://www.veneconomy.com/site/index.asp?ids=44&idt=39279&idc=3)

10 expropriated farms were returned to former owners
The National Cattle Federation (FEDENAGA) has announced that 10 farms expropriated in the past are being restored to their former owners in Barinas, Mérida, Zulia and Yaracuy states. More in Spanish: (Ultimas Noticias, http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/economia/10-fincas-expropiadas-seran-devueltas-a-sus-antigu.aspx#ixzz31ge9aX67; El Mundo, http://www.elmundo.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/noticias/10-fincas-expropiadas-seran-devueltas-a-sus-antigu.aspx)


Economy & Finance

Ecuador's Correa says Venezuela has made many economic mistakes
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, an ally of the Maduro regime, says "Many economic mistakes have been made (in Venezuela) and that it why there are economic problems which exacerbate political contradictions...Venezuela was the world's Saudi Arabia, and where did that money go?" More in Spanish: (El Mundo, http://www.elmundo.com.ve/noticias/economia/internacional/video---rafael-correa--en-venezuela-se-han-cometid.aspx#ixzz31mS2Agol; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/140515/correa-senala-que-situacion-economica-venezolana-se-debe-a-errores)


Politics

Opposition halts crisis talks due to increased repression by the government
Members of Venezuela's opposition say they may pull out of crisis negotiations with the government over what they consider an unjustified crackdown on recent protests. “We will return to meetings with the government if they show interest,” said Ramon Guillermo Aveledo, general secretary of the opposition alliance Democratic Unity Alliance, known as MUD. “The government is only increasing the repression. They have to decide whether they want to win war or peace.” Progress on issues ranging from a proposal to free jailed activists to the filling of positions on the national electoral council has been painstakingly slow, giving room to claims by students and hardliners that the talks are a ploy by President Nicolas Maduro to deflect international criticism. Papal Nuncio Aldo Giordano has expressed Vatican concern over the halt in talks to Aveledo; and Ramón José Medina, Deputy Secretary General of the MUD says the alliance to meet with UNASUR representatives and the Vatican representative this coming Sunday, and will ask them to name a secretary to follow up on progress in talks. They will also seek more meetings with the mediators as the only way to get results. Executive Vice President Jorge Arreaza and Caracas mayor Jorge Rodríguez, who heads the pro-government PSUV, met with National Assembly President Captain Diosdado Cabello, to analyze disruption of talks with the opposition. They are reported to be analyzing the MUD demand for a "plural" Truth Commission as a condition for resuming talks. (The Houston Chronicle, http://www.chron.com/news/world/article/Venezuela-opposition-threatens-to-end-crisis-talks-5474121.php; Bloomberg, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-14/venezuelan-political-talks-halted-as-side-trade-blame.html; and more in Spanish: (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/140515/suspension-del-dialogo-preocupa-al-vaticano; http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/140516/alto-gobierno-se-reunio-para-analizar-exigencias-de-la-mud; El Nacional; http://www.el-nacional.com/)

Government detains dozens of anti-government protesters in push to end demonstrations
Police in Venezuela have detained at least 80 demonstrators who were demanding the release of those arrested in recent anti-government protests. Hundreds of people, mostly students, had marched peacefully through the streets of the capital Caracas. But security forces later clashed with a group of demonstrators who threw stones and home-made explosives, and tried to erect barricades. The march was called by university students to demand the release of more than 200 people who were detained after security forces broke up protest camps last week. A student leader, Juan Requesens, vowed they would continue demonstrating despite the arrests. "The government is trying to suppress us by continuing to detain students. We will not bow down and will continue our protests," he said. Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez, who has been the public face of the government crackdown on demonstrators, says the protest movement has dwindled to a hard core of a few hundred violent troublemakers and the unrest should be snuffed out by July. He says authorities are focused on about 100 radical opponents in Caracas and 100-200 elsewhere around the nation.  (BBC, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-27418802?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=%2AMorning%20Brief&utm_campaign=2014_MorningBrief_05.15.2014; Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/15/us-venezuela-protests-idUSBREA4E0MV20140515)

160 cases of torture filed, total may be 500
Alfredo Romero, head of NGO Foro Penal Venezolano (Venezuelan Criminal Forum) reports over 160 cases of torture, "included lascivious acts against minors," in the last three months. Romero noted that 160 complaints have been filed with the Attorney General's Office, but the NGO totals 500 cases. The NGO recorded 2,946 detentions, including 187 minors, on February 12–May 13. (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/140514/cases-of-torture-in-venezuela-total-160-amid-anti-govt-protests; http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/140514/over-90-students-arrested-during-protests-in-east-caracas; http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/140515/seventy-eight-young-detainees-to-appear-in-court-on-thursday)

Latin Security Index: Venezuela is the most dangerous country in the region
Venezuela has replaced Haiti as the most dangerous country in Latin America in this year's Security Index by the Latin Business Chronicle. The ranking offers a comprehensive view of the on-the-ground situation in these countries, and a comparative view of crime and security trends, giving individuals and companies the ability to assess potential costs and risks for travel or investment in the region. Venezuela tops the ranking this year, replacing Haiti as the most dangerous country in the region. The latest data from the United Nations shows that Venezuela now has the world's second-highest level of homicides per capita (with 53.7 per 100,000), and Caracas remains the world's most dangerous capital city - with almost 119 homicides per 100,000 people. (Latin Business Chronicle: http://www.latinbusinesschronicle.com/app/article.aspx?id=7024)

Jacobson says she got confused about Venezuela in US Senate
US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson now says no member of the opposition coalition Unified Democratic Panel (MUD) taking part in negotiations with the government of Nicolás Maduro asked her to waive sanctions on Venezuelan officials accused of human rights violations. Jacobson told reporters she misspoke when she said last week -before a Senate panel- that Washington viewed as premature imposing sanctions on Venezuelan officials, because members of the opposition alliance had requested so. (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/140514/jacobson-says-she-got-confused-about-venezuela-in-us-senate)



The following brief is a synthesis of the news as reported by a variety of media sources. As such, the views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Duarte Vivas & Asociados and The Selinger Group.

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